The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the key stories regarding Barcelona from the day.

Barcelona beat city rivals Espanyol 4-1 in the Catalan Derby on Sunday night to gain ground on title rivals Real Madrid and cut the gap to the top to 3 points. Post the confidence boosting result, here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Camp Nou.

Talks on a new Messi deal yet to start: Jordi Mestre

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium on December 18, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

BARCELONA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium on December 18, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Barcelona vice president Jordi Mestre has confessed that the club are yet to begin negotiations on a new contract for star forward Lionel Messi. Mestre, however, went on to add that the club hierarchy is confident that Messi will sign a new deal with the Blaugrana and remain at Camp Nou for a long time.

As reported by Sport post the win over Espanyol on Sunday: “We haven’t started negotiations for Messi’s renewal. But after those of Neymar and Luis Suarez, we hope to finalise it in the first trimester of the year.”

Messi’s current contract at the club runs out in the summer of 2018, and it has been nearly three years since the Argentinian wizard signed a new deal with the club. Recent reports have linked the star forward with a move away from Camp Nou once his current deal expires, with several indicating that Messi could refuse to extend his current contract.

Messi was a major talking point from Sunday’s match, as he produced a moment of genius and ran circles around the Espanyol defenders to leave them dead in his wake. The Argentina captain has remained coy on penning fresh terms for an extended stay at Camp Nou, which is why it will be interesting to see whether Mestre’s confidence turns into reality for him and the Barcelona supporters.

Suarez on “big boy” Messi and his contract

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Lionel Messi of Barcelona (R) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Luis Suarez of Barcelona (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester City FC and FC Barcelona at Etihad Stadium on November 1, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: Lionel Messi of Barcelona (R) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Luis Suarez of Barcelona (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester City FC and FC Barcelona at Etihad Stadium on November 1, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, star striker Luis Suarez remarked that Messi is a “big boy” before admitting that he hopes that his strike partner will extend his contract with Barcelona soon. Suarez was speaking in the aftermath of a match where he scored a brace to lead his side to an impressive 4-1 win over Espanyol.

FC Barcelona supporters hold "esteladas" pro-independence Catalan flags before the Spanish "Copa del Rey" (King's Cup) final match FC Barcelona vs Sevilla FC at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on May 22, 2016. (Photo by Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

FC Barcelona supporters hold “esteladas” pro-independence Catalan flags before the Spanish “Copa del Rey” (King’s Cup) final match FC Barcelona vs Sevilla FC at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on May 22, 2016. (Photo by Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

As reported by the Sun, Suarez said: “He is a big boy and knows what he has to decide. He also knows where he is happy and we hope for everyone’s benefit he stays here, but he is the one that has to take the decision.”

Suarez signed a contract extension with Barcelona last week in a deal that will see him remain at the club for five more seasons. The Uruguay international was the latest Barcelona star to ink a new deal at Camp Nou after Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano all committed their futures to the club.

Appeal for the Estelades flags fine withdrawn after striking deal with UEFA

Barcelona have agreed to withdraw their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over fines worth €70,000 that were imposed by UEFA for display of Estelades flags during the club’s Champions League matches last year.

The catch is that UEFA, in return, will review its disciplinary rules that restrict the display of flags and banners that can spark political controversies. The body will also set up a working committee to ensure that all future punishments are fair and flexible.

As reported by Goal, UEFA said in their statement: “UEFA is happy to note that FC Barcelona has withdrawn its appeal to CAS regarding the financial sanction imposed on the club by UEFA’s independent disciplinary bodies in connection with the display of “Estelades” at two UEFA Champions League matches in November 2015.

“At the same time, UEFA recognises that rules of this nature are not “set in stone” and that they can, and should, evolve to reflect the nature of the society in which we live, where freedom of expression is generally a value to be supported and cherished. UEFA will also establish a working group, involving both clubs and national associations, to review the disciplinary framework and which will make appropriate recommendations.”

Barcelona had lodged an appeal with CAS last year after they were fined twice over the display of Esteladas flags, with UEFA having fined them €30,000 and €40,000 respectively for the incidents in the 2015 Champions League final and during a match against Bayer Leverkusen.

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